Provincial government replacing Ornge Air Ambulance’s fixed wing aircraft fleet
Tim Brody - Editor
The provincial government is replacing Ornge Air Ambulance’s fixed wing fleet with a new fleet of state-of-the-art aircraft.
Ornge provides air ambulance services from nine air bases across the province, with the fixed-wing bases located in Thunder Bay, Timmins, and Sioux Lookout.
Ornge provides a range of air paramedical services including moving patients between facilities, responding to emergency on-scene incidents and supporting health care in northern and remote communities.
“The existing fixed wing fleet of eight planes was acquired between 2009 and 2010. With this funding, Ornge will replace the currently aging fleet with eight new planes so training can begin with paramedics, pilots, and aviation mechanics. The new fleet will help ensure crew and patient safety while providing patients with continued and timely access to emergency health care, including for Indigenous communities and northern and remote regions of the province,” the provincial government shared in a Dec. 13 news release.
“We are investing historic amounts to ensure every Ontarian can access urgent health care services regardless of where they live,” said Premier Doug Ford. “Today’s announcement is more proof that no part of the province will be left behind as we build Ontario for the future.”
“Ornge’s fixed wing fleet plays a key role in supporting health care within Northern, Indigenous communities. This is a welcome investment in ensuring rural and remote access to emergency health care for years to come,” stated, Dr. Homer Tien, Ornge CEO.
“Investing in a new Ornge fleet will ensure Ontarians continue to have the best care, no matter where they live in the province,” said Sylvia Jones, Deputy Premier and Minister of Health. “These new state-of-the art aircraft are one more way we are providing people quicker access to urgent care, especially in rural and remote parts of the province.”
The provincial government stated in the news release it is also, “considering future Ornge fleet expansion for larger and faster aircraft to ensure Ontarians continue to have access to the safe, reliable and rapid service Ornge provides for years to come.”
Ornge currently operates 20 aircraft including eight fixed wing planes and 12 helicopters. The planes are used for longer distance transports and the helicopters are for shorter distances and for emergency on-scene response.
Annually, Ornge conducts approximately 21,000 patient transports, with the fixed wing fleet making up 15 per cent of total patient transport volumes.
The provincial government announced on Dec. 15 that, "With the Health Canada approval of a bivalent COVID-19 vaccine for five to 11 year-olds, all Ontarians aged five and over are eligible to book a bivalent booster dose starting December 21."